Excessive Force: Video of incident should be released
Two West Virginia State Police troopers and a Berkeley County sheriff’s deputy have been suspended while an alleged beating incident is investigated. That is being handled by three separate agencies.
On the night of Nov. 19, a 16-year-old boy allegedly struck a sheriff’s department cruiser in Berkeley County. After a chase, the youth’s car crashed and he was taken into custody.
Last week, Gov. Jim Justice said a video recording of the incident “shows the suspect being beaten by two troopers.”
State Police Superintendent Jan Cahill told a reporter the video, from a camera mounted on a sheriff’s cruiser, “immediately raised excessive force questions with us.”
Law enforcement personnel often have to deal with suspects who resist arrest. The question of how much force is required to subdue them sometimes is not easy to answer.
In this case, however, Cahill seems concerned. “When you watch a video and you just don’t see a level of resistance much, that’s where we’re at,” he commented.
For now, the video recording is not being released. That is understandable. Investigators need to ensure allowing the press and public to view it would not jeopardize any criminal proceedings.
But Cahill seems to be implying that the recording will be released eventually. Good.
As soon as possible, members of the public should be given the opportunity to view the recording — and decide for themselves whether excessive force was used.